Oct 30, 2007

November 6 Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that we are meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 7:00 pm at Larry A's home. (Please vote BEFORE you head to Larry's, as he promises a hug to everyone with a ballot stub.)

As usual, bring your favorite liquid calories. Larry will provide supper, and no one should expect white tablecloths (that was a dig at Garth; Larry sets a fine table). Please rsvp to Larry by this weekend.

Our book, for those still in buying mode, is Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. This book is extremely readable (meaning it's not too late, gentlemen). For those who need a refresher, or who can't finish and want to cheat, there's a bio of Shaara and lengthy discussion of the book in this summary.

Dan D. will bring us 2-3 proposed selections for our next meeting and has kindly agreed to host in December. Since he's still new at this, be gentle.

Oct 17, 2007

Great Gustation, Garth!

Yesterday Garth proved, with his keyboard AND his kitchen, that he will not be outdone. While his achievements were man(l)y, mine were not. It was my arm-twisting that yielded the literary watercress, as Garth noted in his gloves-off email last night. Mea culpa.

So, we thank Garth for nicely-paired cioppino and vino, not to mention the salad, bread and a mouth-watering dessert dusted with...yes, it's true fellows...HAND-GRATED BELGIAN CHOCOLATE!! All of this on a white tablecloth. (What I feared has come to pass: certain men--OK, me--will not be able to climb over the bar set by Peter, and re-set by Chris and Garth. Why couldn't you all have been happy with sandwiches!?)

For many of us, John Banville's The Sea produced an unlikeable narrator, a confusing chronology, and a frequent retreat to the dictionary. But the insights on memory and mortality and grief had many pushing through to the end. (Stan again joined us late because he was still reading the book at 7:00, and Jack--bless the newbie!--awakened at 5:00 a.m. so he could add a notch to his belt.) Even Terry, once our neighbor and now just another carpetbagger from LA, seemed intrigued by the material (or else delighted by a home-cooked meal--it was hard to tell with the cioppino all over his face).

For those who didn't or couldn't finish The Sea (John and Chris and Dan, you were awfully quiet), our next selection promises to draw us into and through a seminal moment in US history, the battle of Gettysburg. Thanks to Larry, we have selected The Killer Angels, the 1974 Pulitzer fiction winner by Michael Shaara. We meet on Nov 6 (Election night) at Larry's home. With only three weeks to the Election, get your copy soon.

Dan has promised to provide us with a few book suggestions at our next meeting. His threats notwithstanding, I am confident he will surprise and delight us with quality offerings that meet our selection criteria.

Oct 16, 2007

Garth's Counter

My apologies to Larry if he has taken even the slightest offense, since I harbored no intention to usurp his erudite selection, which I look forward to with baited breath (or is that the cioppino?). But yes, Andrew, you ARE a clever lad to discover a bit of the thread that binds them. Namely, these are books that either I have read or have been highly recommended because they possess the quality of being additional to our understanding of the world - both within and without. As opposed to those dreamy, nay dreary, selections which are more fit for a lady's tea with watercress on crustless white bread, thin in content, and bereft of intellectual nourishment.

I would also, in the interest of full disclosure, note that my arm is still recovering from that nasty twist you gave it at the end of the last meeting, Andrew, when in a state of mild inebriation (the conversation and dice game were simply intoxicating!), you forced from my lips, skillful lawyer that you are, a proposal for a title that seemed so reasonable that it must have been mine, but alas, credit must be paid where due, to the Bookman's Puppet Master cum President himself. Deny it I didn't, in the spirit of manly camaraderie, and thus for my penance have spent hours toiling at The Sea, struggling to keep awake, yet still inspired by my Piscene nature to ply you with the finest catch, freshest bread, bounty of our Northern California gardens, and wines that would make the Spectator envious, all in the name of a harmonious evening of generally lofty ideas and occasionally lowly humor.

Or maybe it was Chris's barbecue that summed it up. I'm looking for a read with some steak and hopefully a little sizzle along with it; something chewie, that invites one to wrestle with its challenging parts with the knowledge that the reward is in how it transforms one's look on life. Then again, maybe watercress is adequate...


Oct 10, 2007

Reminder October 16 Meeting

Just a reminder that we are meeting at Garth's home next Tuesday, October 16, at 7:00 pm. Garth will provide the comestibles; we will BYOB (or is that BOOB?).

Our book, The Sea by John Banville, is a fairly quick read, so if you haven't started you still have plenty of time. To give us some food for thought, I've emailed a short synopsis and a few "reading guide" questions.

Larry has offered to bring us a couple of book proposals for our next read. He promises they'll fit our expanded selection criteria. If there's a groundswell for non-fiction, then this is the time to reply so Larry gets the idea. Given the breadth of his reading (uncommon for a commercial banker, I'm told), he's capable of surprising us if we don't make our desires known.

Finally, I'm incredibly saddened by the news of Jim Bronstein's death. If you are/were a Davidson or SR soccer family, then you were connected to him and his family. Maybe, just maybe, some of the books we read as part of MBC will give us more insight and sensitivity to those who are suffering in our midst.